Artificial is the groundbreaking Twitch original interactive series. The story is about Sophie (played by Tiffany), an Artificial Intelligence Being trying to become human with your (the audience's) help.

This series is presented live on Twitch, where the audience can ask questions of Sophie and even send the story down different directions.

You can watch a video summarizing what we do on the show here.

Our series was just announced as a Primetime Emmy Winner in Innovation in Original Interactive Media, making it the first series to debut on Twitch AND win a Primetime Emmy.

Yes, we do our show live, and yes we are interactive. The biggest difference between us and say a Bandersnatch on Netflix is that for us the audience works as one group and are consequential. There are no resets or redos in our story, what the audiences chooses for us, that is it. Since we’re live, there aren’t alternate branches.

The show is currently in its 2nd season and will season finale this Wednesday, August 28th at 5 pm PT on Twitch. If you go to our channel during the AMA you can watch a replay of season 2.

Star Tiffany Chu is also the lead in the upcoming indie film Ms. Purple, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year. Tohoru Masamune played Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and showrunner Bernie Su was also the showrunner of the Primetime Emmy Award-winning YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved

Find out more on our website, or check out our in-world narrative podcast about AI on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

Thanks for reading!


Comments: 134 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

Knutbusta11156 karma

What are your opinions on using punctuation in titles?

ArtificialNext18 karma

For episodes? I like them a lot except sometimes they mess with websites when you share them. I remember when Lost just had ? for a title and it messed up some systems. - Bernie

Eramismus40 karma

Question to Tiffany, what methods of acting have you used to get in character as Sophie develops? Would be interesting to hear how you approached the problem given the technical backdrop of actual machine learning and AI applications one could go through to understand how an AI might work.

ArtificialNext46 karma

Well, in my first acting class, my teacher said I was like a robot....and here I am...playing a robot. For Sophie, and the script, I just approached everything with a logical perspective, and not with emotions. - Tiff

amarubud37 karma

Tap water or bottle? Best tap water experience?

ArtificialNext48 karma

Tohoru: Bottle. Why do it for free when I can pay for it?

Tiffany: In California: bottle, in NY: Tap

Bernie: Tap water. Bottle is a scam and destroys the environment ;)

MightHeadbuttKids-32 karma

What a stupid question.

ArtificialNext10 karma

Lol. They ask... we answer!

Jodav52714 karma

What is the largest challenge you faced while making "Artificial"?

ArtificialNext35 karma

Tiffany: Hoping that I don't hiccup or sneeze on the livestreams

ArtificialNext25 karma

Bernie: This season, we've purposely made the polls massive consequential to the story and characters, and that leads to a lot of them going down to the wire 51%/49% so it leaves the actors very little time to prepare the next scenes.

It's a fun challenge though. Wouldn't trade it.

ArtificialNext17 karma

Tohoru: Making my performance feel not scripted.

Bustamante198312 karma

Congrats on the Emmy win!!! How are you all feeling?

ArtificialNext12 karma

Tohoru: Couldn't be prouder. It was a such a team effort from the start.

Tiff: So proud of the entire team!

Bernie: Ecstatic! This so is show out there in how the story is told that I'm thrilled it's getting this recognition!

true_ceanji11 karma

For the cast, after having an entire season about the trolley problem have you looked at it in a new light?

ArtificialNext11 karma

Tohoru: "Yes, especially for this last episode coming up"

Tiffany: "No, it's always a struggle!"

castigamat7 karma

which are the most influencial SF writers in your opinion?

ArtificialNext8 karma


SF = Science Fiction

Tohoru: Phillip K Dick

Bernie: HG Wells, Mary Shelley

ay17178 karma

Did a search engine answer this question?

InitiatePenguin1 karma

I feel like all their answers are really basic, even in what sci-fi society they wanted to live in they keep picking some of the most common known works.

And I mean I-dont-even-read/watch-scifi-common.

ArtificialNext2 karma

I don't know about Tohoru, but I just answered this question most literally. - Bernie

cckkyoko7 karma

All: I like the discussions around technology and philosophy that the show brings up. Are the topics of AI or philosophy something that interested any of you before the show? Have you gained any new interests about AI, philosophy, or anything else because of working on this show?

ArtificialNext6 karma

Tohoru: I have been around AI since college and actually had the great fortune to meet Marvin Minsky at MIT, when I had to go into his office to get his signature for some school requirement. I recall all these robots running around his lab. I even learned a little LISP back in the day and am now starting to learn PYTHON. This show did make me look at the ethics issues for the first time, however. The show has rekindled my interest in philosophy, in which I took some peripheral interest in college and shortly thereafter.

ArtificialNext5 karma

Tiff: Yes and Yes

Bernie: Definitely gained appreciation for it as the show developed. One of the running themes of the show is human hypocrisy, so a lot of philosophy has played into that.

babyquack6 karma

To all: If you could live in any other sci-fi world, which one would you live in?

ArtificialNext11 karma

Tohoru: Blade Runner

Tiffany: Hunger Games

Bernie: The Matrix

AlexHM6 karma

You guys need to widen your horizons. Surely The Culture? At the very worst, Star Trek or Star Wars....

ArtificialNext6 karma

Ha! I did consider both ST and SW. I mean ST would definitely be more peaceful. - Bernie

babyquack4 karma

Hunger Games?! ... Well, I believe in Tiffany. She can win.

ArtificialNext6 karma

This girl... right?! - Bernie

vamadeus5 karma

Question to any/all: What is something that you didn't expect going into Artificial and has surprised you the most?

ArtificialNext14 karma

Bernie: How much the viewers would protect the characters. That's been really heart warming. I figured that the Twitch audience would always vote for the worst/chaotic thing to happen, but I've generally been wrong about that.

vamadeus6 karma

I kind of would expect people on Twitch to do the most chaotic thing as well,. However I think if people like, identify with, or get attached to characters they'll feel more invested in what happens, especially if they feel like they have such a direct influence or relationship with those characters and the story around them. It has been interesting to watch how people vote and interact and why!

ArtificialNext4 karma

I 100% believe that one of the major reasons we won the Emmy was because we were giving all this power to the audience, and so yes, it's been incredibly fascinating watching what you all vote for/determine. - Bernie

__WhiteNoise1 karma

I think the format demands too much attention for the chaotic voters and trolls to stick around. Trying to stay meta while watching in order to maximize chaos is also exhausting I imagine.

ArtificialNext1 karma

Totally fair point. The one's that are sticking around really care. But you do have the people passing through, and those generally would vote for the chaos.

ArtificialNext3 karma

Tohoru: The amount of dialogue that I have learn for every episode, especially in the first season.

ArtificialNext3 karma

Tiffany: Not knowing where the story is gonna go.

kibblznbitz3 karma

I can relate to this. I’ve been trying to write a novel, and for the longest time I wasn’t sure where the hell the story was going to go; I just wrote seat-of-the-pants.

ArtificialNext2 karma

Bernie: As a writer, I would suggest knowing where you're going. Even with our show, we are letting the audience make major choices for us, we do know where we're going. It's a big help!

kibblznbitz4 karma

I completely agree. So much of my writer’s block started eroding when I knew more of where things were heading, had more of a game plan, and how everything was connected. I’ve now got pages and pages of notes where I keep asking myself, “okay, what next, and why?”

Now the major issue is just trying to figure out the existential questions, haha. Things like “how does the entire system of magic work? How does it affect the world?” Trying to figure out the Big Bang itself and how things progressed to where we are now, so to speak, and how the world works now and how it can be expected to work later.

Thanks for the reply!

ArtificialNext3 karma

All good problems.

Best of luck on your work!


ScarlettPanda5 karma

How do you go about creating a sci fi show without rehashing on existing scenes and plotlines that have been done before in other shows/stories?

ArtificialNext5 karma

I think the key is to find the fresh take on it.

Every modern Sci-fi AI show is about an AI trying to be "human" so we found our fresh take on it.

I believe our fresh takes are two fold,

  1. Matt recreating Sophie as a replacement for his daughter Michelle, whom he lost in a school shooting.
  2. Having the audience participate and be a part of the journey.

Jdban4 karma

Will we see more Juju in Season 2?

ArtificialNext2 karma


true_ceanji4 karma

Bernie, what medium are you curious about using to tell a story?

ArtificialNext4 karma

I'd be perfectly happy sticking to Twitch. There's so much more we can try to do there!

Buutt... I'm actually curious about Tik Tok. I don't have a solution yet, but I do find it fascinating.

vamadeus4 karma

Lailah and Sophie making videos on Tik Tok...? Making Rice Crispie Treats with Lailah and Sophie? (and Matt eating them afterwards)

ArtificialNext3 karma

And then sharing that to all of you so that YOU can make Rice Krispy treats Tik Tok videos in the thread!

Bustamante19834 karma

So where do you think the future of AI is going?

ArtificialNext4 karma

Bernie: #YangGang2020

I'll also add that I believe if you pooled the collective AI resources of the world today, you could make something WAY more advanced than our fictional Sophie.

piyompi3 karma

Yang Gang! Lol. Just did a ctrl-f to see if Yang was mentioned.

I'll definitely check out the show. Sounds interesting. I started/abandoned writing a video game with a similar concept a couple years ago after watching Ex Machina.

ArtificialNext1 karma


ArtificialNext1 karma

Tohoru: - Don't get me started. haha. I am very excited about advances in the area of medicine, as well as several in other areas. But yes, I agree that we do have to address the ethics issues. Max Tegmark mentions how if we, as a community address these issues, it will be left to engineers in Silicon Valley. That's not to say that engineers aren't ethical people, but the community at large, as well as ethics experts, should be involved. Take for instance the case of Germanwings flight 9525, where the pilot crashed his passenger plane filled with into the side of a mountain, fatally killing 144 people. A properly designed AI would not have allowed that to happen.

Slamdunkthespunk4 karma

When did you know this was going to work out? Right from the start, or was there any given moment or interaction that made you go ”yeah, that’s it!”?

ArtificialNext3 karma

Bernie: Definitely not right from the start. I think it was more gradual for me. We kept figuring out and then stacking on ways for the audience to be consequential, I think my first "yeah that's it" moment was the audience picked The Color Purple as a book for Sophie to read, and then realizing that she has to change her relationships and personality because of this book (one that the audience chose) - Bernie.

Tohoru: I've been trying to shift from thinking in those terms these days. I knew Bernie and his work from before, so as soon as he called me, and especially after I read the audition sides, I knew I was in for some sort of crazy adventure. He explained to me, that "This project is all one big experiment...that being said, it might not work" I was sold as that point! I did, however, see a sort of a "crossing over" mid-Season 2 where the audience and show started melding together into something very cool and exciting. That also was definitely a "yeah" moment for me.

Slamdunkthespunk1 karma

Thanks! Yeah, I guess ”work out” or ”success” can have different meanings if we talk about production/tech, reactions from the industry, uptake from the audience etc.

A follow-up if you don’t mind - do you feel people ”get” what you’ve been trying to create?

ArtificialNext1 karma

Well we did win an Emmy AND a Peabody so I feel that someone is gotta be getting it.

But I do think we're still in the early stages for this method/format. I think you could revolutionize two "old" storytelling formats with the methods pioneered in Artificial, the multi-cam sitcom (Big Bang Theory) and the daily soap opera (Days of our Lives). Both of those are pretty "aged" formats and could use a jolt.

true_ceanji3 karma

Does Sebastian have a last name?

ArtificialNext3 karma

He does, but we hasn't revealed it.

self_help_hub3 karma

Quite interesting indeed. Congratulations! If you mind me asking:

  • Might you be looking for a marketing & PR team/individual, maybe to help further boost your reach? How can they or interested sponsors approach you?

  • Would you be doing YouTube streams?

  • Would you be looking to stream in other web streaming services too?

  • What's the bigger picture?

  • Are you on discord?

  • What inspired your talented team to do this?

  • Any ideas on future collaborations?

ArtificialNext4 karma

That's a lot of questions.

Inspiration: How could a sci-fi story be told on Twitch?

And... Discord:

cykwon3 karma

Howdy yall. Howd you guys get initial funding for the show? Who'd you have to pitch to?

Didn't expect an ama while lurking. Congrats on the win also @team

ArtificialNext2 karma

We just pitched to Twitch. They were looking to diversify their content on the platform with something different. Enter Artificial.

letme_ftfy23 karma

Who do you think all our bases are belong to?

ArtificialNext5 karma


true_ceanji3 karma

Mei was diagnosed with a very particular type of leukemia. Why was that one chosen?

ArtificialNext3 karma

I believe it started with Co-creator Evan Mandery that set it as a specific type of leukemia, and then Alexandra who plays Mei steered it a bit to connect it with her own experiences.

vamadeus2 karma

What hat are you wearing Bernie?

ArtificialNext2 karma

AHistoricalFigure2 karma

The Robot Becoming Human story is one a lot of shows, films, and books have taken a swing at over the years. What sets your interpretation apart?

blackOnGreen2 karma

Its live and audiences participate

ArtificialNext3 karma

Yup. Right on. I don't defend that our base concept is all that unique.

Our deployment of our story... that's where all the innovation is.

How many Sci-fi stories/shows can the audience actively help shape the outcome together?

BigBenKenobi2 karma

What was it like working with Hank Green in the past?

ArtificialNext2 karma

It was an incredible honor - He's extremely intelligent and honorable.

Also he's a very innovative thinker.

Circumvent_Ban2 karma

So what's it like to be Tiffany, Tohoru, and Bernie, the stars and showrunner of Artificial the live Emmy and Peabody Award-winning interactive sci-fi series about an Artificial Intelligence human?

ArtificialNext3 karma

Tohoru: It's a great honor to be part of this incredible team. Been a blast working on the great material, and cool format with everyone since day 1, but definitely did not see the Peabody and Emmy coming. That part is a total, almost surreal thrill. I guess it's one of those cases of just "do what you love, and the rest will follow."

Bernie: It's fun and a lot of work! But I do get to wear a lot of hats.

Tiff: I'm really grateful and appreciative to be a part of this kind, chill, and awesome team. I always believed in Bernie and knew we were a part of something revolutionary...just happy to be a part of the process and history.

anthonyart131 karma

Best scifi film?

ArtificialNext2 karma

This isn't the most "Sci-fi" but my two favorites would be Battle Royale and Dark City.

I'm sure Tohoru would say Blade Runner - Bernie

FruitofThought1 karma

What are your thoughts on using the collective on Reddit as an alternative to Twitch for AI simulation in the future?

ArtificialNext3 karma

I think it would present the same challenges on Twitch.

This is all theory: - The collective of Reddit would always vote/steer to the chaotic and/or bad result (the troll result). The collective would have to embrace the AI and genuinely care for them to steer them on the right path.

Like I don't think Season 1 Artificial Audience was very "protective" of our Sophie, while I believe Season 2 audience is. More or less.

But it's a totally doable, just has to be presented in a very specific to reddit way.

FruitofThought3 karma

The internet is not very nurturing, but I think it's possible to impose strong filters on Reddit if you have a core set of tenets that you want the AI to follow.

Also, with Reddit, you could let thoughts "digest" over a pre-determined amount of time. There are two reactions after all, initial and long-term. I see a live chat-feed as being the initial reactions that we all get in the moment that something happens, and a forum as being a conscience with more growth and development based on a set of laws that you would determine. With Twitch you would get the primal side of intelligence, but with Reddit you could get the more contemplated, calculated side.

edit: spelling, grammar

ArtificialNext2 karma

Totally agree. No doubt it would be fascinating to try it.

- Bernie

Kami-Kahzy1 karma

Looking at this concept I am reminded of two very specific instances where the concept of a 'collective influence' for the narrative was used to memorable effect. The first is the experience that was 'Twitch plays Pokemon' (Hail Helix), and the second is the short series made by Wham City Comedy called 'The Cry of Mann'. Did y'all do any research into other experiences like the one you're creating to get an idea of how you could structure your narrative? Or was this mostly just a shot-in-the-dark to see what would happen?

ArtificialNext2 karma

Very aware of Twitch plays Pokemon. Definitely a little inspiration there.

Unfamiliar with The Cry of Mann.

Most of my influence into this, (aside my from my previous work), would be what Jeff Gomez writes on the collective journey.

Also a rule of thumb I've had in the experiences that I've built is that if you the viewer do no interactivity and just sit there and watch, you should get a good story that you can follow and enjoy.

Participating in the narrative is encouraged but not required.

babyquack1 karma

To Tiffany and Tohoru: If you could be any character in Artificial besides who you play, who would you be? Why?

ArtificialNext2 karma

Tiffany: I would be ADA, and I would be smarter, and I would take over the internet!

Tohoru: Ada, I've always wanted to play a glowing orb. I might do it with a Stephen Hawking voice though

babyquack1 karma

Everyone wants to be Ada?! That's a surprise! Considering how sad most of the other characters' lives are, maybe that makes sense though!

ArtificialNext2 karma

Bernie: Their answers sure surprised me. I would have guessed they would have said Carmen or Sebastian.

vamadeus1 karma

Imagine Tiffany playing Sebastian. The complete opposite character of Sophie.

ArtificialNext1 karma

Usually when actors I work with get asked this question, they always go for the opposite, hero wants to play the villain and vice/versa - Bernie

FortuneHasFaded1 karma

Is showrunner the same as a producer? If so, when did the industry start using "showrunner" and why?

ArtificialNext1 karma

I really don't know. There can be lots of producers, but the person in the lead for a TV show, that's the showrunner. - Bernie

ArtificialNext1 karma

Hey Everyone,

It's been fun!

Any last questions before we wrap up?!

ArtificialNext1 karma

Already we are wrapped. Gotta rehearse for our show on Wednesday. Will be checking back in for lingering questions.

We have our Season 2 replay happening now over on our channel,

and our season 2 finale is on Wednesday 8pm Et /5pm PST